6 fun ways to avoid wrapping Secret Santa gifts – #CutTheWrap Day 3

Secret Santa gifts, avoiding single use wrapping paper, #CutTheWrap

This week I’m blogging about alternatives to single use wrapping paper. I think it would be great if we stopped using it, because most of it isn’t recyclable. Plus even the stuff that is, still involves chopping down trees! Read more about why I’m not a fan of wrapping paper and sign up to the challenge to avoid it this festive season here: #CutTheWrap and use wrapping paper alternatives .

Today is all about alternative ways to ‘wrap up’ Secret Santa gifts, so keep reading to find out more!

Shouldn’t we just ditch Secret Santa instead of worrying how to wrap the gifts up?

I’m not a big fan of Secret Santa because people often end up buying each other novelty or generic gifts, that will end up either in the bin, being regifted or being resold soon after Christmas.

That said there is a plus side to Secret Santa. I think it is better than only one gift is bought for each person in a group, rather than everyone buying everyone a gift.

Also you can make the rules. Usually a price limit is set. You can add to that a request to only buy gifts that are actually wanted by the recipients. For help with this, check out my blog post on how to end the madness of unwanted gifts here: 10 easy ways to stop unwanted gifts . Gifts don’t have to be physical gifts either and you don’t even need to spend any money on them.

6 alternatives to wrapping Secret Santa presents

1. A raffle

We used to have a yearly raffle at my work away days. Everyone’s name was put in a hat and then picked at random. Then you got to go up and choose the prize you wanted. Obviously the further down the list you were, the less choice you had. However you could always try to swap the gift if you didn’t like it.

To do your own Secret Santa raffle, put all the gifts together somewhere and instead of writing the names down on pieces of paper, use an online random name picker. This wheel of fortune random name picker would be quite funny to use!

2. Ungifted Secret Santa

Have you heard of Ungifted Secret Santa? It is a website which arranges an alternative Secret Santa experience! It is free to use and most of the gift ideas won’t cost you a penny.

You put all the names and email addresses of the people taking part into the site. Next set a date for the Secret Santa giving event. Then each of you get an email with the name of the person you are giving the gift to. You can choose from a range of gift options. The gifts are things like giving them a cake, taking the office dog for a walk and putting post it complement notes on their computer!

I don’t know what exactly happens on the date yet as you can only set it for dates in December, but I’m guessing you all get an email telling you about your gift! It is a bit of a laugh and aside from the cake nothing else is a physical gift so nothing needs wrapping.

3. Lucky Dip

This is a simple one to do in an office. Save some of that office shredding and an empty box and stick the gifts in it unwrapped. If you want to take it up a notch, decorate a box in a Christmassy way and bring it out every year! If you want to make sure people aren’t looking when they put their hands in the box, get them to wear a blindfold!

A lucky dip is also a really fun idea for kids. Again decorate a box, fill it with shredded paper or scrunched up newspaper or whatever you can find in the recycling and pop the gifts in!  

4. A Santa Sack

Put small name labels on the gifts, attached with a bit of string or ribbon. You don’t need to buy any, you could make your own gift tags from upcycled materials. Pop all the gifts in the sack to be dished out by a nominated Santa from your group!

If you want the gifts to go in the bag secretly, then the gifts could be brought in reusable bags to hide them while they are being delivered.

5. All pay to do an experience together instead!

Instead of doing a Secret Santa, go out for lunch or dinner together. Or do an activity like ice skating or bowling. See what inexpensive experiences you can do where you live. I think a work outing to the Upside Down House near me could be quite hilarious and is a Secret Santa priced £5 a person!

6. Do a charity collection for a food bank

Swap buying mindless tat for spending £5 each on food, household items and treats that you can take to your local food bank. Check what types of things the food bank needs and can accept before you buy. No wrapping required for this one! Read more about food banks and what to give them in this post by the UK Money Bloggers about their reverse advent calendar project. You could combine doing a collection/ reverse advent with one of the other ideas on this list too.

As well as all these options you could choose to wrap gifts in fabric, Furoshiki style or do a festive treasure hunt! As you can see there are loads of alternatives to wrapping gifts in disposable wrapping paper, even when it is the office Secret Santa. A lot of them are a real laugh too!

Remember to look out for my post tomorrow on how to use your recycling to wrap gifts!